This devotion focuses on all of Proverbs 26.
I have always said that if I could spend twenty minutes with a person and their friends, I can pretty much tell you everything about them. It really doesn’t take long for a perceptive person to figure others out. If you will watch, you can tell what people are like by their attitude and relationships with others.
When I get around a group of people, I watch them. You can quickly tell that some people are apathetic and lazy, while others are motivated and involved. You can tell that some are deceptive and sneaky, while others are honest and genuine. A conversation or two will disclose if a person is a busybody and a talebearer. It doesn’t take long to figure out if a person is filled with hate and anger or is gentle and loving.
Solomon was pretty perceptive as well. I imagine him writing this Proverb while sitting in the youth room of a local church (remember that Proverbs was written primarily to young men). A couple hundred teenagers are hanging around, and Solomon is sitting back and watching them interact with each other. In one corner, he sees a group of girls who are huddled, and laughing, and then they all give an evil look towards a couple girls on the other side of the room. He then looks on another side and sees a group of kids in grunge clothes, and it’s obvious they don’t want anything to do with what is going on at the church. The youth minister tries to talk to them, but they blow him off. On the other side is a group of guys, sitting in a circle with the “ladies man” telling stories of his conquests of girls in that group.
As Solomon watched something like this, he may have begun to write this Proverb. He began to list types of people that will bring ruin to a peer group. The categories of people listed in this Proverb don’t only exist in youth culture, or in ancient times. They are everywhere we look.
First, Solomon warns us about the fool. Verses 1-12 give characteristics of a fool. A fool is a person who refuses to hear from God. They are wise in their own eyes, but reject God. Solomon also tells of the lazy man (v.12-16), the meddler (v. 17), the joker (v. 18-19), the talebearer or gossip (v. 20-22), the hateful (v. 23-26), the vengeful (v. 27) and the liar (v.28). Read through this Proverb again, and pay close attention to the characteristics of these people. Do you know people like these? Are you a person like these?
The truth be told, we all have the capability to be any of these types of people. This Proverb is a good reminder that we need to allow God to transform our character every day. But we also need to realize that we will tend to drift toward the values of our closest friends. This Proverb is not only a warning not to be these people, it is also a call for us to be very careful with the people we allow to shape our lives and speak into our purpose.
Like I said, give me twenty minutes with you and your friends. I could tell you if you fit in one of these groups.